It’s not something we like to write about — the demonic — but it’s something that has to be addressed in these times when it is wreaking havoc. It’s not just in the smoke from the World Trade Center. It’s not just in the eyes of terrorists. These days evil is attacking us all. We are seeing illness. We are seeing dissension. We are seeing freak accidents. A few weeks ago a minister and his family were killed in the Midwest by a tree that fell onto their car as they were driving through a woods in calm weather, and that same week the heavy wrought-iron gate of a church slipped off its track in San Francisco and crushed a priest to death.
At the center of the storm, in New York City, there is Ralph Sarchie. He’s a cop — a sergeant — but also an expert on demonology. I just read his book, Beware the Night, and while it’s secular and not for the squeamish, it’s the account of a courageous, dedicated man trying to stop not just the overt manifestations of evil — not just crime — but its root cause.
That cause is the devil, and Sarchie– who works in 46th Precinct in the South Bronx, which is so dangerous it’s nicknamed “The Alamo” — has investigated witches, confronted satanists, and assisted at twenty exorcisms, some exhibiting extraordinary phenomena. All of this has taught him a lot about the devil, and he has lessons to give us. One is the danger of the occult, including “innocent” games like the Ouija board (whereby those playing contact the “dead”). The problem: demons often masquerade as the deceased, and Ouija boards can lead to possession. “There ought to be a law against these evil, occult `toys,'” writes Sgt. Sarchie. “I can hear some of you out there saying, ‘Hey, I used a Ouija board and nothing happened.’ Consider yourself lucky, then. It’s like playing Russian roulette. When you put the gun to your head, if you don’t hear a loud noise, you made it. Same thing with the board: The more times you pull the trigger, the more likely that on the next shot, your entire world will go black. I’ve had one case where a young mother played with a Ouija board at a party, with horrifying — and tragic — results.”
He has seen the phenomena. He has seen cases so strong that even the pets had to wear medals. He has seen cases of grave robbery. He has seen the results of curses. He has seen the special unleashing of evil at 3 a.m. “Not only do satanic powers often do things in threes, to show contempt for the Holy Trinity, but their terrorist strikes frequently occur at 3:00 a.m.,” says Sarchie, who works the midnight shift. “This is another insult to God, Whose Son Jesus Christ died on the cross at 3:00 p.m. The demonic will do the opposite of anything holy, so they like to attack at exactly the opposite hour — with supernatural phenomena you might call miracles in reverse.”
Sarchie, who has been shot chasing down a robber and who deals with brutal homicides on a regular basis, describes spiritual warfare as more treacherous, and the Church is no longer on guard against it. As this cop-turned-exorcist points out, the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel has been eliminated from the end of Mass, and priests (trained in seminaries that have replaced mystical theology with psychology) know little about demonology and in many cases even question the devil’s existence. “The problem today is that many priests, clergy of other faiths, and even bishops of the Catholic Church don’t believe in the Devil, even though Jesus Himself performed exorcisms,” he says.
This has occurred at the same time the nation has seen an upsurge in occult. “By some estimates there are over 8,000 satanic covens in the country,” says Sarchie. “In just about every American city, black masses are now available on a weekly basis.” As the cop points out, The Satanic Bible has now sold a million copies, and the cover of Sarchie’s book describes New York itself as “a city under diabolic siege.” It’s hard to tell if it’s because there are more cases or enhanced interest, but he quotes Father James LeBar, one of four exorcists now serving the Archdiocese of New York, as reporting a sudden surge of exorcisms — from “none” in 1990 to “over 300 hundred” in the following decade. Each year, there are from 800 to 1,300 “major” exorcisms around the world — a figure that, we might add, would exponentially increase if priests were trained and allowed to perform deliverance with the frequency of the early disciples. Whether one believes in black magic or not makes no difference to those who want to use it against us. “In fact,” warns Sarchie, “the less you believe, the more likely that you won’t know how to protect yourself if you’re attacked this way. This situation is all the more to the liking of the legions of sorcerers, black magicians, witches, warlocks, Satanists, and other practitioners of the occult.”
Sarchie notes that demons often hide “in the shadow of the church.” He has investigated Mayombe “priests.” He has seen Santeria. At one point while exorcising an apartment building in Queens, the cop came nose to nose with the leader of a satanic coven — “standing there, right in front of me [in a hallway], and reading aloud from [a book of spells] to counter my prayers. It didn’t work. He suddenly broke off his reading and actually ran from me.”
There is no fear with Jesus, Who is vastly more potent than any evil. There is no fear with Michael the Archangel, who cast Lucifer out of heaven to begin with!
Sarchie is filled with advice: use Holy Water, he says. This is very powerful. Remember too blessed salt. Use relics and the St. Benedict medal. Fast. Go to Confession. Pray always. Pray the Rosary. And don’t become obsessed. “Whenever you discuss a particular case, you give recognition to the demonic spirit connected with the case,” he says. “At times, that can cause the satanic force to be drawn to you. To obsess over occult horrors is unhealthy and dangerous to the soul; lifting up your eyes to the wonder and majesty of God’s creations is the cure. It’s only through His mercy that we can survive the dark night of evil.”
This to remember: “God never lets evil happen without something positive coming out of it.”
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